Big goals ahead for Majestic Man
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Majestic Man displayed a dynamic new dimension and possibly booked a passage to the Rowe Cup in Auckland when grabbing a half-head victory in the Group 3 Southern Lights Trot on Northern Southland Cup Day at Ascot Park on Saturday.
Driver Brad Williamson had the four-year-old midfield on the outer early before taking him up to force the issue with favourite and leader Kings Landing.
After a brief tussle, Majestic Man took the lead at the mile and had enough in reserve to hold the passing lane challenge of the All Stars stable rep.
“He was a good three-year-old but he couldn't have done that last year,” trainer Phil Williamson said.
“He was placed a few times behind Winterfell and Luby Lou, but they were elite three-year-olds and beat him on his merits.
“As he has matured, he's kept improving and is a little bit better now. Hopefully he'll still be improving at five.”
Williamson said Majestic Man will head now to the four and five-year-old trotting championship at Addington before tackling the Rowe Cup.
“He has raced twice at Alexandra Park for two seconds to Winterfell and prefers that way of going.”
Williamson has won Rowe Cups before but not with a four-year-old. He has also won five of the 12 runnings of the Southern Lights Trot as a trainer including with Monty Python in 2017.
Monty Python was raced by the Griffins Syndicate as is Majestic Man. At the presentation, syndicate manager Mark Noonan made it clear the group enjoys winning races at meetings of the Northern Southland Club.
“Northern Southland really look after owners, they set the standard,” he said.
Ross Wilson produced Robyn's Treasure to win the New Zealand Oaks in 1994 but has never had a runner in the Derby. After relative Robyns Playboy led for the closing mile of the $20,000 Caduceus Club of Southland Super Nugget Final on Saturday, he confirmed the Derby will be the gelding's next start.
“He's got to make the field yet and I don't think he would beat Ultimate Sniper, but it would be good to have a runner,” Wilson said.
“He's got a high cruising speed and will often wait for the others. He's fit and won't need another race.”
Robyns Playboy is fourth on the list of qualifiers for the Jewels, another target for the season.
Longshot Swiss Miss pulled off an upset when winning the $20,000 Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks in a smart 2:47.9.
The Gavin Smith-trained filly, driven by Nathan Williamson, sat last of the five runners left in contention from the start before unleashing in the straight.
“Gavin's got her humming,” said Williamson.
“She was trotting a bit roughly the first round but got better as she went on. Turning in she was travelling so well that I thought if she doesn't break, she'll be in this and she just kept going.”